Often I sign my posts “Follow the water”. It’s a phrase I use not just in pig hunting, but in a series of situations in the outdoors. It’s been so important, that it has actually saved my life, and that of my fellow Marines in my company.
Most commonly I follow the water to hunt wild boar, and finding where the boar are in the first place. When you start a scouting campaign before your hunt, realize that pigs need water something fierce, and looking elsewhere can be a waste of time. Pigs need water to cool down as they have no sweat glands to cool themselves. That is why they are most active at night when it is cooler, and the reason they wallow in the mud around water sources. This is a major weakness that a hunter can take advantage of. The skin on a pig is actually pretty thin, and without proper cover in bushes and other thick vegetation, they use the mud to cake their skin as sun protection, insect repellant, and to slow down the evaporation process to cool themselves.
“Follow The Water” is so important to pig hunting success that I would declare it as the secret to pig hunting.
How I find wild Pigs
1. Scour the internet for areas for wild pigs, asking around to other hunters, local forest rangers, land owners, and other locals.
2. Use the Google Earth app to get a bird’s-eye view of the area, notating water sources, access points, and surrounding landscape. Nothing fancy, it’s free.
3. I follow the water notations I made, and hike to that water source.
4. I follow that water source till I find tracks, wallows, rooting, and other sign.
5. Those tracks lead me to their trails, highway system, and bedding.
Earlier I mentioned that following the water saved my life along with a company of Marines. Here is that story:
Back in 1996, we were training in Bridgeport, CA for the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare training. It was a week of hiking through pretty steep mountains, averaging 12-20 miles per day. Well, we had hiked off the path of a mountain to the top. Someone did not think about the logistics for this, and we ran out of water without much support. The area we were in was not accessible by vehicle, so we were essentially waiting for helicopter support to get re-supplied. The hiking was tough, and everyone was exhausted. 4 other Marines and I scouted the mountain and found an unusual green spot with tall vegetation. We followed this to a natural spring in the side of the mountain that was trickling out. We dug into this, and one of the Marines had an empty AT-4 missile tube that we jammed into the spring, creating a pipe where it was functional to fill everyone’s canteens. Now, I’m not sure if our commanding officers had a plan to fix our water situation, but I’d like to believe that mother nature, and us 4 Marines, helped save a company from dehydration, possibly saving lives that day.
So my friends, and fellow pig hunters, I wish you great success.
Follow the Water,